iTunes star ratings, play count, playlist info

After incredible hassles with several LaCie Terabyte drives (on the Mac), I bit the bullet and bought an Xserve RAID. I have moved the iTunes library to the RAID.

It is, of course, easy to designate the RAID volume as the new library and add the songs, but does anyone have any idea how I can designate one of the RAID volumes as the new iTunes library location but still keep the info that is unique to the old iTunes library, such as star rating, play count, and play lists?


Your question is very unclear. If you actually moved the iTunes library folder to the new drive, then you would have kept all the info the library file contained. It sounds like you moved your music files to the new hard drive, but then started a new iTunes library file. If that's what you did, then you may have lost all the previous information. The iTunes library folder has a default location in the MacIntosh HD/user/(your name)/music/iTunes folder. It's possible that a copy of the older library file has been kept.
O.K. so it sounds like I transferred the iTunes library incorrectly.

How do I do it correctly?
The iTunes library file keeps track of where the music files are located, so when copying your music files you would have to maintain the same drive heirarchy in the new location in order to make use of the old library file. Assuming that's the case all you have to do is copy the old library file to the location I mentioned above. You will lose whatever changes you've made in the interim.

I may be headed in the same direction... I had been using LaCie 250 GB drives, but just had a disk crash on my second data drive that wiped out 300 CDs or so. I had gambled that I'd be OK through the ripping process, so it wasn't backed up--was going to do that when the disk was done. Even worse, I went ahead to back up the first data drive, about 2% of the data was generating CRC errors.

I am now thinking that the external drives for consumers currently available really aren't ready for prime time. At least not 24x7 operation and having people actually use the capacity that is available.

I was thinking about the Buffala terastation, 1 TB (700 GB w/RAID 5) due out in Feb., but I'm totally losing faith in consumer storage. If this thing is built around Maxstor consumer drives, it just may not be worth it in the end. So... I had previously checked with Dell and was looking at $14K for 1 TB of NAS RAID 5 storage. That doesn't work. I briefly looked at the $3K Niveus 1 TB media server but, again, I'm guessing its built on consumer hardware. So... I'm now looking at an xServe w/3x400GB drives in a RAID 5 configuration.

Is that where you ended up? Have you used your xServe with Windows devices (most of my 'puters are WinXP)? Did you go with the cluster version or the normal one? Any help would be appreciated...
Oh yeah, one more question...

How quiet/loud is it?
I love the xServe RAID. It has been up and running for over 40 days now. It mounts instantly, and is more than fast enough for any uses I have. I use it for graphics files, audio, and general storage. It seems to be very well built.

I bought the full boat. 14 x 400 Gig drives. There are two separate banks of drives. I have 6 drives on each side set up as a RAID 5 and the remaining drive on each side set up as a "hot spare" . That means that I have about 1.81 TB per side of storage. I can lose two drives per side without losing data. All other components are redundant.

My brother has an xServe RAID in a mixed Apple/Windows environment, and says that it works great. I only have Apple computers.

It is loud (though not much louder than the LaCie Terrabyte drives!). You could deal with the noise in two ways: first, you could place the RAID in a separate room, since you can use optical cable as a connection. That is what I have done. Second, you could house the RAID in a cabinet specifically designed to be quiet, available from Apple. Another consideration is the heat generated. The Apple site says how many BTUs it sheds.

The xServe RAID does not come in a cluster version, that is only the xServe G5 Server.

The only downside that I see to the xServe RAID is that it will probably be pretty much worthless in 5 years, as alternative storage systems are developed. Gotta love the computer industry!
Holy god. At least now I have an answer when people tell me I've gone overkill...

I'm thinking of the xServe G5 w/3x400GB drives and the RAID card. Should give me 0.8 TB of actual storage configured as RAID 5 for about $5K. Of course, I can only lose one drive without losing data, but I think the LaCie drives will be OK as standalone backups (as long as I never turn them on and never need them). Should be good enough for pics and 1500 or so CDs. I needed something in the way of a standalone network device, however, so don't think the xRAID works for me. I think--tell me if I'm wrong--that won't work as a standalone network device.

Turns out the cluster thing is irrelevant, I really just need the xServe. Anything else fun I can do with this puppy once its hooked up?
Having had the RAID for over a month I just can't imagine doing without it, so it really is not overkill - just expensive!

I can't help but think that an xServe G5 might be overkill for you if all you are looking for is a NAS solution. (It is a different story if you are also looking for a server.)

I know that LaCie just increased their Ethernet Drive capacity to 1Terrabyte for $1,599.

You could buy two (or even three) of them for less than the xServe. You could then use one for backup. You could stash them in a remote location - wherever you have ethernet.

They seem to have gotten good reviews. The biggest negative for me would be the fact that they are only 10/100 ethernet.

I am a huge fan of Apple products. So if you are looking for a server, the xServe would be a fantastic way to go. If you are only looking for storage, it might make more sense to find a different solution.
At this stage, I've had three drive crashes in less than two years--one internal Western Digital, one Maxstor external, and one LaCie external. Add in CRC read errors and 2% of the data being unrecoverable on a fourth Lacie drive, and it makes me think I'm taxing the limits of normal consumer technology. While I agree that the xServe offers excessive processing power for a dedicated NAS, its the cheapest RAID 5 storage unit that is intended for a 24x7 commercial environment...

I thought about the fact that I could get five of the buffalo terastations for the same $ as the xServe. But, it's still leaving me feeling kinda exposed. Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow (today was the day that 300 CDs painstakingly ripped into WAV format disappeared)...

What else do you use your server to do? I had previously ordered a miniMac that I was going to attach to the main stereo/video rig to run iTunes and get WAVs off the xServe. I've also got an elgato eyeTV 500 on order and will see about recording some off-air HD onto the server. But, the server is still acting like NAS...
I know the feeling of just wanting your data to be safe. I really don't want to have to re-rip all those CDs, let alone the impossibility of retaking ten thousand photos!

I have my RAID set up as a local disk on my G5. In other words, I don't have a server at all. The RAID volumes just show up on my desktop as local drives. They never have to spin up, they are just always there.

One interesting note about RAID. A RAID is actually less RELIABLE than a normal disk.

If you take 14 hard drives (ignore the controller for now), each with a Mean Time Between Failure of 500,000 hours each and tie them all together. You get a system with a MTBF of only 35,714 hours! A decrease in reliability of 93%. What makes RAID 5 (with distributed parity information) so great is that it is FAULT TOLERANT.

In theory anyway, my RAID can have 4 drives, one controller, one power supply, one cooling fan, and one UPS all fail all at the same time without losing data. I have a far greater chance of having some failure than just a single disk drive with a MTBF of 500,000 hours. The difference is that when I have a failure, it is likely that it won't be catastrophic.
I don't mind replacing the drives, so I'm more worried about mean time between catastrophic failures. Which, right now, seems to be about 6 mo. for me.

I've poked around some more, and may end up with a Dell PowerVault 775N. It's enterprise grade, but maxes out at 4 x 250 GB drives; with RAID 5, that gets me only 0.75 TB, but that should hold me a while. Would be nice to have the hot standby, but I think my solution may be to get a spare drive and have it available...

I did look at the Lacie NAS, as well as others by Snap and Weibe...